T-Mobile CTO: Our 4G Stands Up to LTE Rivals

NEW ORLEANS -- International CTIA Wireless -- T-Mobile US Inc. may be working towards a Long Term Evolution (LTE) build-out, but the carrier's CTO says its high-speed packet access-plus (HSPA+) network is already standing up to rivals' LTE.

Speaking at CTIA Tuesday, T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray stressed that the carrier didn't stand still while it waited for AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) to acquire it. The best thing it did, he claimed, was upgrade its HSPA+ network to 42 Mbit/s in markets across its footprint. (See T-Mobile USA Bigs Up HSPA+.)

"Our network is extremely competitive today," Ray said. "When you look at the performance of 42 [Mbit/s HSPA+] against LTE, we're doing quite well."

LTE is faster, he admitted, but still faces a host of factors that affect its performance. In particular, Ray called out Verizon Wireless , applauding it for leading the charge to LTE, but noting that only 9 percent of its customer base is on the 4G data network. About half of T-Mobile's customer base uses HSPA or HSPA+, Ray said, adding that he knows it's at least superior to Verizon's CDMA 3G network.

"On a percentage basis, we have a lot of our customers already in a competitive environment," Ray said. "For us, we don't see we have to rush to LTE. We want to get modernization done thoughtfully, carefully with the right amount of work, but we're [in a good position] now.

T-Mobile announced Monday that it'll build out LTE in 2013 with the help of Nokia Networks and Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC), but it's also using the vendors to continue to upgrade its HSPA+ network. (See NSN, Ericsson Win T-Mobile's LTE Business and T-Mobile Could Still Boost HSPA+ Speeds .)

The reason T-Mobile is moving to LTE isn't just for the speed, Ray said, but for the efficiency it brings. Plus, by the time it's ready for LTE in 2013, the products will be more stable, and there will be new capabilities like carrier aggregation and the Heterogeneous Network (HetNet) available for optimizing the LTE experience, he said.

"LTE is key; performance is one thing, but spectrum efficiency is another," Ray said. "T-Mobile has a great history of rapidly migrating our customer base into new technology, and we'll look to do the same on LTE and make sure our customers are getting the mobile experience and value."

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile

joset01 12/5/2012 | 5:33:40 PM
re: T-Mobile CTO: Our 4G Stands Up to LTE Rivals

That's "mullah" actually, Chuck old boy. And I'd worry about any CTO that wasn't a cheerleader for their technology.

gtchavan 12/5/2012 | 5:33:40 PM
re: T-Mobile CTO: Our 4G Stands Up to LTE Rivals

Every other technology company the CTO is a technoloogy evangelist, in Telco's the job belongs to technology Mulla's, boasting at every Friday prayer that we already have the best technology and we can beat the West with our left hand tied behind our backs.

sarahthomas1011 12/5/2012 | 5:33:38 PM
re: T-Mobile CTO: Our 4G Stands Up to LTE Rivals

I agree also that LTE is about more than speed for T-Mobile. It needs the efficiencies it brings. Just like features like carrier aggregation are more important than the extra-zippy speeds LTE-Advanced will bring.

gtchavan 12/5/2012 | 5:33:37 PM
re: T-Mobile CTO: Our 4G Stands Up to LTE Rivals

I stand corrected.  Here is how a Telco Mullah and a real Mullah work, they both boast about how great their technologies are (usually to a dumbfounded Friday prayer audience) and both are not the real brains behind the operation and in both cases, there are smart people behind the scenes who actually know their technology is outdated and try to do something about it despite what the Mullah says.    

Flook 12/5/2012 | 5:33:34 PM
re: T-Mobile CTO: Our 4G Stands Up to LTE Rivals

Another thing in T-Mobile's late LTE start, by the time VZ and ATT are finished squeezing the vendors, the technology will be cheaper.

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